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Business Journal

Entrepreneur | Business | Education and Career | Finance | Real Estate | Technology | Insurance

June 2017

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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118th Edition

Experience B’s Wine Bar Bonita Billings, Owner of B's Wine Bar

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INSIDE

38

House Votes to Limit Powers of First Black Librarian of Congress

18, 31

Specializing in Care and Concern for Your Family Is Bill Clair Family Mortuary, Inc.

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Mayor Turner, Climate Mayors Vow To Honor Paris Climate Agreement Goals


2  |  June 2017

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June 2017  |  3

Publisher’s Message

MR. D-MARS

d-mars.com is proud to see so many African-Americans owning businesses in Houston and the surrounding areas. This is a key to our economic empowerment. I want to encourage you to support the fine establishments that keep our community prosperous. Supporting each other, we all can win. This month’s cover story highlights Bonita Billings, the proud owner of B’s Wine Bar (B’s), conveniently located in Missouri City, Texas. Billings has an entrepreneurial spirit, and becoming the owner of a wine bar has always been a dream of hers. Well, now the dream has

Behind the Journal

—Susan L. Taylor

contents

Publisher & CEO Keith J. Davis, Sr.

our services

04 Business 04  4 Simple Ways to Stay Productive 04  NAMIC Accepting Entries 06  SBA Partners With Synergy Solutions

Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Floyd ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dawn Paul

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.”

04

ACCOUNTING MANAGER Eugenie Doualla

08  Education and Career 08  Black Doctors Earn Less Than Whites 10  Flat Funding for HBCUs Is a Win 10  Job Prospects Mixed for Black Workers 12  Kindergarten Is the New 1st Grade 13  85 Houston Area High School Seniors Honored

Vice President, Marketing Anita Bates

14  Entrepreneur 14  How College Entrepreneurs Are Moving the World to a Better Place

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES C.T. Foster Tiffany Black

15  Finance 15  Four Causes of Money Problems in a Marriage 15  5 Tips to Find the Financial Advisor to Match Your Retirement Goals 22  5 Steps That Can Improve Your Credit Score in 100 Days or Less 24  Business Spotlight on Victor D. Walker, Esq.

PHOTOGRAPHY L.C. Poullard Grady Carter MULTIMEDIA DIRECTOR Andrea Hennekes

16-17  Business Cover Story 16-17  Experience B’s Wine Bar

LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGNER Angel Rosa

18-21  Community Spotlight 18-21  Bill Clair Family Mortuary, Inc.

Project Coordinator Taelor Smith

become a reality with this new establishment already creating quite a buzz in the Missouri City area and beyond. With special attention to detail, an unmatched atmosphere, and a signature wine selection, B’s has branded itself as a top wine venue that will be here for years to come. B’s grand opening took place recently, and the business has been well-received. As always, thank you for your continued support of d-mars.com. When you support us, you are supporting more than just our company; you are supporting the communities in which we live and work. Working together, we can succeed in making positive things happen.

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ADVERTISING | MARKETING MEDIA | COMMUNICATION • Business Journal • Health & Wellness Journal • Community Journal • Black Pages Online Business Directory • Top 50 Black Health, Medical & Wellness Professionals • Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs • Top 30 Influential Women of Houston • Top 25 Prime & Subcontractors for Diversity • Business Connection • Business Development • Business Consulting • Graphic Design • Photography • Printing • Web Design • Online & Email Marketing • Public Relations • Social Media • Advertising • Writing • Promotional Marketing

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DISTRIBUTION Booker T. Davis, Jr. Rockie Hayden

26  Politics 26  A Message from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner 26  House Votes to Limit Powers of First Black Librarian of Congress

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charlotte Jackson Linda Lindsay Rhonda Dallas Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Johnny C. Taylor Jr., NNPA Freddie Allen, NNPA Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Charlene Crowell, NNPA Lonnie R. Matthews Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Noel Pinnock d-mars.com News Provider

26  Insurance 38  Securities in an Insecure World

d-mars.com info MAIN OFFICE 7322 Southwest Fwy., Suite 805 Houston, TX 77074 Phone: (713) 272.9511 | Fax: (713) 272.6364 Email Us: contact@d-mars.com

27  Real Estate 27  A Smarter Way to Buy a Home 27  CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial Over Unfair Mortgage Practices 28  Technology 28  5 Precise Points to Look for in the Perfect PC 28  Consumer Data

30  Contributing Writers 30  Disappointments Are for a Season 30  Enthusiasm Is the Great Multiplier 32  Follow the Leader 32  It Is a Part of Who You Are

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4  |  June 2017 Business

4 Simple Ways to Stay Productive and Conquer Your To-Do List By d-mars.com

Clearyour yourtech mind Toss

News Provider

“Technology isn’t always the answer to checking things off your to-do list,” says Jackson, adding that even a tech lover such as himself needs a tactile method to spark creativity. Without a screen limiting you to seeing only the small tasks at hand, take advantage of a large surface and use Easel Pads to move big ideas around so you can see everything you are trying to accomplish. Seeing how fluid tasks can be can relieve some stress.

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id you know that in an average week, 75 percent of Americans skip doing something for themselves because they didn’t adequately plan or allow enough time for it? Does looking at your to-do list feel so daunting that it discourages you from making any progress at all? You’re not alone. A new Post-it Brand productivity study found that more than 1 in 4 Americans feel completing everything in their weekly to-do list is harder than running a marathon. Juggling multiple tasks at one time, along with a never-ending to-do list, is a common challenge for everyone — even those at the top of their game. Two professionals in the culinary and fitness industries share some of their tips to help you take control of your to-do list and increase your productivity.

Toss your your tech Clear mind

The‘write’ ‘write’ way way The You’re 42 percent more likely to get something done if you write it down, according to research from the Dominican University of California. Creating a to-do list is an efficient way to visualize and prioritize your tasks, both short-term and long-term. Celebrity chef Russell Jackson is always looking for ways to be more productive and stay inspired. “Writing items down helps me feel that I’ve taken the first step in conquering the task,” he says. “I like to think of lists as a roadmap to help me visualize what I need to achieve.” Post-it Super Sticky Notes, 4 inches x 6 inches, are a perfect tool for jotting down tasks, goals and to-dos, and when paired with flags and tabs, it’s easy to keep important information at your fingertips, stay organized and take your to-do list wherever you go!

Breakitit down down Break Too often people attempt to improve their productivity by tackling large projects in a single session. The results may be disappointing and, in many cases, the project is left unfinished. Instead of getting bogged down in the entire scope of a project, take time to break down to-dos into digestible actions, and goals into specific, manageable categories and tasks. This allows you to focus on handling each of these smaller objectives so you can transition some goals from to-do to done.

If you find your current strategy isn’t working, don’t be afraid to switch it up. Go for a walk or clear your head by taking 15 minutes to do something you enjoy. For world-renowned fitness artist and celebrity trainer Nicole Winhoffer, even a 10-minute jog can help bring fresh ideas. She uses Post-it List Notes to write down her post-workout inspirational thoughts. “When you come back to your task after that quick sweat session, write down the first things that come to mind — those can spark ideas that you might never have thought of.” Post-it Brand created a quiz to help you learn more about your list-making style and to find solutions and tools to help you be productive, tackle your to-do lists and achieve your goals. Visit www.post-it.com/quiz to take the short quiz and find solutions tailored for you to boost your productivity. Survey details: The Post-it Brand Productivity Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www. wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,021 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between March 30 and April 5, 2017, using an email invitation and an online survey. – BPT

Business

NAMIC Accepting Entries for Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) By d-mars.com News Provider

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AMIC (National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Communications) is now accepting entries for the Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA). The NAMIC EMMA, in partnership with CableFAX, recognizes innovative marketing efforts by companies and agencies targeting multicultural audiences. This year's competition features four divisions, including the newly-added Brands division, competing in two categories – Marketing Tactics and Integrated Campaigns. Winning entries will be chosen based on creativity and effectiveness in reaching multicultural audiences which includes African American, Asian, Hispanic, and other market segments.

"It is sound business strategy to reach ethnically and culturally diverse consumers through multicultural marketing efforts marked by a high level of creativity and messaging that resonates with each unique segment," said Eglon E. Simons, president and CEO of NAMIC. "The NAMIC EMMA showcases the very best of multicultural marketing and recognizes the creative professionals who masterfully communicate to a consumer landscape that is steadily diversifying." Winners will be honored during the 31st Annual NAMIC Conference September 26-27, 2017 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York, NY. Select winning entries will also be profiled in Cablefax: The Magazine. The deadline for submissions is June 23, 2017 and there is a $375 non-refundable fee for each entry. For complete rules and to enter online visit www.emmacompetition.com.

ABOUT ABOUTNAMIC NAMIC

NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) is the premier organization focusing on multi-ethnic diversity in the commu-

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nications industry. Founded in 1980 as a non-profit trade association, today NAMIC comprises more than 3,000 professionals across 16 chapters nationwide. Through initiatives that focus on education, advocacy and empowerment, NAMIC champions equity and inclusion in the workforce, with special attention given to ensuring that the leadership cadres of our nation's communications industry giants reflect the multi-ethnic richness of the populations they serve. Charter Communications, Comcast | NBCUniversal, and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. are NAMIC's Platinum Annual Corporate Sponsors. For more information, please visit www.namic. com and stay connected to NAMIC on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Source: NAMIC


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6  |  June 2017 Business

SBA Partners With Synergy Solutions to Launch Cybersecurity Online Training Initiative By d-mars.com News Provider

ecently, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced its partnership with Synergy Solutions to launch a free, new comprehensive series of webbased cybersecurity training containing up to 10 modules to educate 7(j) eligible small businesses about cybersecurity and steps they can take to protect their company's assets and intellectual property. While the classes are free, they are first come, first serve and will accommodate no more than 50 participants at a time. To register, visit: https://synergysolutions.talentlms.com/. "I am impressed by the thoroughness of this cybersecurity training as it provides timely and vital help to all of our SBA small business clients," said Robb Wong, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development. "Ostensibly, it helps businesses with bestpractices to reduce digital threats to a company's data and information which is often central to their business operations." Synergy Solutions will provide webbased training services to 7(j)-eligible businesses nationwide that are in the developmental and transitional stages of the SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program. The 7(j) program is administered through the SBA's Office of Management and Technical Assistance Program and its mission is to provide high-quality assistance and

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executive training to eligible small businesses. Through this training, participants will learn how to most effectively secure information through best cybersecurity practices, identify their risk and the types of cyber threats, and learn best practices for guarding against cyber threats.

Thefollowing followingindividuals individualsand and The businessesare areautomatically automatically businesses eligibleto toreceive receive7(j) 7(j)training: training: eligible •  Small businesses that are owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals; •  Small businesses located in areas of high unemployment or low income; •  Small businesses owned by low-income individuals; and •  Certified 8(a) participants or HUBZone small businesses; or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses.

Topicscovered coveredthrough throughthis this Topics training initiative include butare training initiative include but are not limited to: not limited to: •  secure passwords; •  malware, privacy; •  data breaches; •  safe computing; •  online scams; •  mobile protection; • phishing; •  government generated frameworks (NIST); and •  cybersecurity pertaining to federal contractors.

The entry level training classes cover basic cybersecurity awareness and current cyber risks to federal contractors and small businesses. The intermediate level training classes include more advanced federal cybersecurity and information assurance requirements and policy compliance and assessment areas. This training initiative also offers an assessment tool for use by all eligible participants that they can use to assess their company's cybersecurity maturity.

AboutSynergy SynergySolutions, Solutions,Inc. Inc. About Synergy Solutions, Inc. is an SBAcertified 8(a) and economically disadvantaged, woman-owned small business headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with more than 100 employees and associates who have provided comprehensive, value-added security services and proven cybersecurity solutions to a wide variety of clients and customers since 2003. In addition, the company provides a full spectrum of administrative and professional support services for nuclear facility operations, as well as security, environmental, health and safety services.

AboutSBA's SBA'sOffice Officeofof About Managementand andTechnical Technical Management Assistance Assistance The SBA's Office of Management and Technical Assistance Program is authorized by the Small Business Act to provide high-quality assistance to eligible small businesses. The program's assistance encompasses a wide spectrum of business courses such as

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accounting, marketing, strategic and operational planning, financial analysis, business development, contract management, compliance and various business related software applications. The courses offered vary and are aligned based upon the needs of the local business community and marketplace. A key goal of the program is to help firms successfully compete for federal, state and local contracting opportunities as a prime contractor or subcontractor. This free training is provided by SBA through its nationwide network of resource partners and vendors. To learn more about the program or to sign up for training, please contact your local SBA district office.

Aboutthe theSmall SmallBusiness Business About Administration (SBA) Administration (SBA) The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. For more information, please visit www.sba.gov. Source: U.S. Small Business Administration


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8  |  June 2017 Education and Career

Black Doctors Earn Less Than Whites By Stacy M. Brown NNPA

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frican-American physicians earn 15 percent less than White physicians—an average of $262,000 compared to $303,000—according to Medscape’s 2017 Physicians Compensation Report. Approximately 19,200 physicians across 26 areas of medicine were asked questions about annual compensation, race, gender, geography and job satisfaction. The report, detailed by CBS News, revealed that African-American doctors are less likely to say they feel fairly compensated, with only half agreeing that they’re earning what they should. “Fifty-percent of African-American physicians don’t feel fairly compensated,” the report’s editor Leslie Kane, a senior director of Medscape Business of Medicine, told CBS. Racial and gender discrimination may certainly be a factor, Kane said, but there are other factors as well. For example, if a doctor treats more Medicaid patients, their reimbursement is usually lower, since employer-insured patients tend to pay better. How many hours a doctor works and whether they’re in private practice or a clinic can also explain some inequities in pay. “Tons of factors play into how much a physician makes,” she said. The survey found that the gender pay gap is narrower among younger doctors. Male doctors ages 55 to 69 make 27 percent more than women, but the divide shrinks to 18 percent in physicians under the age of 34. Being a doctor pays well, but there are still major discrepancies when it comes to paychecks within the medical profession. For the first time, the annual report looked at race as well as gender and other factors, revealing some significant disparities in pay. Physicians’ annual salaries averaged $294,000, with specialists earning about $100,000 more than primary care doctors. Overall, average pay has risen by $88,000 over the seven years Medscape has been conducting this survey—an increase attributed to intense competition for doctors among hospitals and health care systems. The three highest-paying specialties were orthopedics (average annual compensation: $489,000), plastic surgery ($440,000) and cardiology ($410,000). They earned well over twice as much as the average pedia-

trician ($202,000) and family physician ($209,000), the two lowest-paying categories. A deeper dive into the data shows male doctors take home bigger paychecks in both primary care and specialty areas such as orthopedics and surgery. Male primary care physicians made 15 percent more than women in 2016, while male specialists earned 31 percent more than their female colleagues. Part of the reason may be that women are more likely to choose lower-paying specialties, Kane said. “One of the things we look at is why there is this overall disparity. We look at what specialties women are going into and they go into less well-paying areas,” she said. “Fifty-three percent of pediatricians are women, one of lowest paid specialties. Thirty-nine percent of family physicians are women, also a lower-paying area,” Kane said. When it comes to the more highly paid medical specialties, only 9 percent of women are orthopedists and only 20 percent of general surgeons are female, Kane added. African-American doctors typically work in primary care rather than specialties, the survey noted. The annual compensation survey delved into race

for the first time, said Kane, who has edited the report for seven years. The report revealed higher salaries in rural states. Doctors in North Dakota are the highest paid in the U.S. followed by Alaska, South Dakota and Nebraska. Washington D.C. counts as the lowest, while New York hovers toward the bottom of the list, which Kane and others chalk up to supply and demand; plenty of doctors cluster in big cities, while rural areas need to offer more money to attract staff. Patients may be glad to know that regardless of pay, most doctors like what they do: eight out of 10 physicians said they’d still choose medicine if they had the chance to pick a career all over again.

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June 2017  |  9

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10  |  June 2017 Education and Career

Flat Funding for HBCUs Is a Win

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., says that recent visits to the White House reinforced his belief that the Black community must seek an open dialogue that transcends partisan lines to ensure access to quality higher education for all our deserving young people.

By Johnny C. Taylor Jr. NNPA

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y job is to promote the interests of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So naturally I was concerned when I heard earlier this year that the new Trump administration was planning to propose increasing defense spending by $54 billion and slashing nonmilitary spending by an equal amount. That’s when the HBCU presidents, chancellors, and I decided to roll up our sleeves and get to work engaging the Trump Administration and the Republicancontrolled 115th Congress to fight and protect our interests. It paid off: In late February, after weeks of meetings and phone calls with administration officials, more than 70 HBCU leaders and I attended a listening session with top Administration officials, and a dozen returned the next day for a signing ceremony event at the White House, where President Trump signed an executive order recognizing the importance of our institutions. A few weeks later, the administration released its budget blueprint, which called for maintaining federal HBCU spending at current levels. Let me be clear: flat spending for HBCUs in a president’s budget that calls for a 13 percent funding decrease to the Department of Education is a win! It’s clear that this Administration understands the value of HBCUs, which educate nearly 300,000 students a year, award three-quarters of all doctorates

earned by African Americans and provided the undergraduate degrees of 80 percent of black federal judges. Not everyone is happy though—some are critical of President Trump because they believe he should have significantly increased the budget for HBCUs. Such notions are naïve in the current political environment in Washington, now run by Republicans who’ve vowed to reduce the size of government.

Thereare aresome someother otherimportant importantthings thingsto to There remember as well: remember as well: First, the President makes a “budget request” while the Congress has to ultimately authorize and appropriate the funding for the actual budget. The HBCU community is working hard to ensure the President’s final budget request scheduled to be released in May protects HBCU funding. At the same time, we are engaging the Congress to not only protect the HBCU funding, but to also increase programs that are critical to our mission. This is the beginning of the process, not the end. Secondly, the Administration has proposed to maintain—not to cut—the Pell Grant program. And while it is true the Administration has suggested reallocat-

ing $3.9 million in Pell Grant surplus funding, we are busy working with the Congress to use the additional funding to restore year-round Pell that was eliminated under President Obama. Our recent visits to the White House reinforced my belief that we must seek an open dialogue that transcends partisan lines to ensure access to quality higher education for all our deserving young people. That’s why we’ve chosen a strategy of engagement, building relationships in Washington in addition to our traditional allies, such as the Congressional Black Caucus. We are working hard to reach out to key lawmakers in both parties, such as Republican Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Mark Walker, who hosted the fly-in for HBCU leaders in February. And we have developed a strong working relationship with the Administration, which has been, frankly, more accessible than the Obama White House, which often shortchanged our budget requests and seemed to fail to grasp the complexities of our mission. I encourage all who support HBCUs to remember this is a marathon not a sprint. In addition to the upcoming fiscal year budget request, TMCF and our HBCU leaders have identified billions of dollars in additional needs over the next four or five years. We will get there through persistence, diplomacy and relationship-building, not by attacking those who are eager to work with us. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. is the President & CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. Prior to joining TMCF, he spent many years as a successful corporate executive and attorney. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnnyCTaylorJr.

Education and Career

Job Prospects Mixed for Black Workers Last Month By Freddie Allen NNPA

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ven though Black women lost ground in the labor market last month, the unemployment rate for Black workers dipped below 8 percent for the first time since January 2017, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department. Not only did the unemployment (UE) rate for Black workers improve, the labor force participation rate (LFPR), which is the share of people in the labor market who have jobs or who are looking for work, also moved in a positive direction. The labor force participation rate for Black workers increased from 62.3 percent in March to 62.5 percent in April. The employmentpopulation ratio (E-POP), or the share of the population with jobs, climbed a few notches from 57.3 percent to 57.6 percent in April. The jobless rate for White workers decreased from 3.9 percent in March to 3.8 percent in April, and so did the labor force participation rate. The E-POP for White workers was flat. April was a good month for Black men over 20 years-old; the three main indicators (UE, LFPR and E-POP) all moved in positive directions. The un-

employment rate for that group improved from 8.2 percent in March to 7.3 percent last month. Meanwhile, White, working men over 20 years-old, who looked for jobs in April, found them, for the most part. The labor force participation rate for White men was flat at 71.9 percent, but the employment-population ratio for that group increased from 69.2 percent in March to 69.4 percent in April. The unemployment rate for White men improved from 3.6 percent in March to 3.4 percent in April. White working women over 20 yearsold, took losses in two out of the three key market indicators last month and their unemployment rate was flat (3.5 percent), likely due to White women exiting the labor market. April’s jobs report was a tough one for Black women over 20 years-old. For the third month in a row, the labor force rate for Black working women was flat at (62.7 percent). The E-POP took a few steps back from the 58.6 percent mark set in March to 58.4 percent in April. The unemployment rate for Black women increased from 6.6 percent to 6.9 percent in April. Economists say that the measures of labor market indicators for minority subgroups are more prone to wild swings, because the survey sample sizes are smaller for minority workers compared to the sample size for White workers. Economists also say that the public shouldn’t make much out of a single job report and should instead watch for trends.

One of those trends, was an increase in “annual work hours for all workers, especially low-wage African American workers and women,” from 1979 to 2015, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a think tank focused on the needs of low- and middle-income workers. In a recent post on EPI’s website, Valerie Rawlston Wilson, the director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) for the think tank, noted that working moms were “significant contributors to this trend.” More than half of all Black female workers are moms compared to roughly 44 percent of White female workers. “African American working moms are uniquely central to the economic well-being of their families,” wrote Wilson. “To begin with, more than two-thirds of all African American working mothers are single moms, making them the primary, if not sole, economic providers for their families. By comparison, 29.6 percent of white working mothers and 47.9 percent of Hispanic working mothers are single.” Black married women with children also worked more hours per year and earned less money per hour than White married women with children, according to EPI. “What’s behind this greater attachment to the labor force? For African American women, it may have to do with higher rates of Black unemployment and racial pay and wealth disparities motivating the greater intensity of work relative to other groups,”

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wrote Wilson. “Economic policy has unquestionably failed single working mothers, who tend to work fewer hours in lower-wage jobs and often lack necessary family work supports like paid leave, health care and retirement benefits, affordable high quality child care and more predictable work scheduling.” In a statement about April’s jobs report, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said that even though President Trump inherited a growing economy from President Obama, his plans to significantly cut programs that support long-term economic prosperity would only jeopardize those gains. Scott also said that, “Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan that will cause 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance will only exacerbate the economic harm that will be inflicted on working families.” Scott said that he hoped that the current president and Congressional Republicans would instead work with Democrats on solutions to continue to build on the historic economic growth that the nation experienced under President Obama. The Labor Department will release its next jobs report on June 2. The unemployment rate for Black workers dipped below 8 percent for the first time since January 2017, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department.


June 2017  |  11 CBP-6100-07 CRE Ad-MM.pdf

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RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.


12  |  June 2017 Education and Career

Kindergarten Is the New 1st Grade: Is Your Preschooler Ready? By d-mars.com News Provider

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hen you think back to your own kindergarten experience, it probably involved a half-day program and plenty of fun activities — finger painting, sand play and nap time. Likely the hardest parts were learning the alphabet and counting to 100. Fast forward to today. While kindergarten still offers a fun learning environment, it's certainly more focused on academic achievement. Kindergartners often know the alphabet and have solid counting skills prior to the first day of school. If students aren't reading at the beginning of the school year, they're certainly expected to be doing so by the end. "Kindergarten is the new first grade" isn't just an anecdote, it's a fact. New research from the University of Virginia compares kindergarten and first-grade classrooms between 1998 and 2010, finding that kindergarten classes have become increasingly like first grade, with more time spent on academic instruction and, ultimately, higher educational expectations. Each year an estimated 4 million children enter kindergarten. To help pre-K kids improve core learning skills and get them excited about school, it's important to find fun, age-appropriate ways to help them learn. Consider these expert ideas for preparing kids ages 3–6 for kindergarten.

Educational Educationalapps apps Children today have a natural knack for technology. While it's important to monitor and balance screen time, the right technology can help educate kids. Preschool Academy by IntellectoKids is an ideal example. With over 50 educational activities in one app, kids will learn the alphabet and develop important skills like counting, sorting, logic and critical thinking — the foundations for math and reading. Best yet, the learning is rooted in amusing animated puzzles about musical instruments, fun train adventures or whimsical letter/ number games. This educational app allows parents to customize for multiple children and select between three levels, increasing in difficulty as they play and learn. Like Preschool Academy, the best learning games are constantly adding fresh new learning activities and are always free of ads or hidden in-app purchases.

Finemotor motorskills skills Fine Fine motor skills, also known as dexterity, involve the coordination and control of muscles to create small movements. This usually requires hand-eye coordination as well. Being prepared for kindergarten means having a basic ability to complete fine motor actions like holding a pencil correctly, tying shoes and sorting small objects.

language. They'll also learn important social skills, and you'll also find yourself developing a deeper bond with your little one.

Preschool Preschool

One of the easiest ways to support your child's fine motor development is by providing lots of opportunities to color and write. Make crayons and paper readily available and let kids' imaginations take off. As they try to draw a bird, write a story or create patterns, they are really preparing themselves for the classroom.

Readingand andconversation conversation Reading Language is a heavy focus throughout the kindergarten curriculum. One way to prepare your child is to make reading a daily activity, including classics like "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," "Harold & the Purple Crayon" or "Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." Fostering a love of books can set the stage for learning important reading skills. Visit your local library, stock your bookshelf and download digital books. Additionally, make time for genuine conversation with your child. Both reading and speaking help children expand their knowledge of the English

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Want kids to be prepared for kindergarten? Enroll in preschool a few days a week. This experience gives children the perfect foundation to prepare them for their educational journey. Preschools provide introductory education in writing and math, but it's a lot of fun, too. Students have plenty of time to play and learn about the world around them. What's more, kids learn proper social etiquette and how to follow classroom rules. Being able to sit still, listen to the teacher, raise a hand to ask a question and interact respectably among peers are all important skills that kids will need in order to thrive in an academic environment. If preschool isn't possible, consider joining a playgroup or visiting the library for story time, and encourage social interaction with new kids at the playground. Knowing that kindergarten is more challenging than ever, smart parents are taking charge by introducing ageappropriate educational activities now. From smart apps like IntellectoKids Preschool Academy to reading every day, you're helping build the brain power that leads to success in kindergarten and beyond. – BPT


June 2017  |  13 Education and Career

85 Houston Area High School Seniors Honored With Prestigious RMHC® US Scholarships At Celebratory Luncheon Events R

ecently Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Greater Houston/Galveston, along with the McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association of Greater Houston (MOAGH), awarded 85 high school seniors with prestigious RMHC® US Scholarships for their outstanding community involvement and academic performance. Each student received a $2,000 scholarship and a Kindle Fire tablet at a celebratory luncheon.

Three luncheons were held: RMHC®/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER®) recognizing students of Hispanic heritage; RMHC®/Asian-Pacific American Students Increasing Achievement (ASIA) recognizing high school seniors of Asian Pacific Heritage and RMHC® Scholars recognizing high school seniors of all heritages; and RMHC®/African-American Future Achievers (AAFA®) recognizing students of African-American heritage. “Year after year, we’re delighted to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who are continuing their education,” said Mary Redmond, President, RMHC® of Greater Houston/Galveston and local McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “It’s extremely rewarding to watch each and every student walk across the stage to receive their scholarship and know that in a few short weeks they will graduate high school, and this scholarship will help send them to college.”

“As local business people, we are committed to supporting the communities we live and work in,” said Matthew Kades, President of the McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association of Greater Houston. “These families are our neighbors, and these students are our children’s classmates. Each year we’re excited to celebrate their accomplishments at these events, but we’re even more thrilled to help support the next step in their education.” Every year, RMHC® of Greater Houston/Galveston and MOAGH distribute nearly $200,000 in scholarships to area high school students. To date, RMHC®

has granted more than $48 million in scholarships to students in the United States and more than $3 million to students in the Greater Houston area.

Special guests in attendance were: Mayor Sylvester Turner; Council Member Karla Cisneros; Mary Redmond, President, RMHCGHG; Stuart Brown, Vice President, RMHCGHG; M. Helen Cavazos, VP of Programs, RMHCGHG; Tanya Gee, Executive Director, RMHCGHG; Dr. Sanghamitra Misra, Medical Director, Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program; Dr. Margo Melchor, Director, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at UT Health School of Dentistry; Matthew Kades, President, McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association of Greater Houston; Dave Moss, President, Black McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association; Nelly Quijano, McDonald’s Owner/ Operator; Stephanie Oliver-Parrish, McDonald’s Owner/ Operator; Steve McKinney, McDonald’s Owner/Operator; and Stuart Brown, McDonald’s Owner/Operator.

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14  |  June 2017

Entrepreneur

How College Entrepreneurs Are Moving the World to a Better Place By d-mars.com News Provider

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ecently at Wheaton College in Massachusetts there was a room full of 18 college age students spending a week of their summers from May 22nd to May 26th at the second ever Meaning Makers Social Entrepreneurship Boot Camp held by the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN). These 18 peers, both genders equally represented, are learning how to make sustainable social impact with their truly innovative ventures. The breadth of these ideas would astound you and amongst GCSEN's students there are budding entrepreneurs focused on: reducing bullying rates in schools, teaching how to best implement technology in schools, making beauty products less harmful on skin, providing stress relief for Syrian refugees and so many more awe-inspiring passions. The GCSEN Foundation is a groundbreaking program sponsored by the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. Diana Davis Spencer is a visionary philanthropist and Wheaton College class of '60 alumnae who saw the transformative power of teaching college students how to start their own social enterprises. The Meaning Makers Boot Camp is designed to inspire, teach, and support college students. These students are experiencing the importance of social entrepreneurship and learning key methods and frameworks used for actualizing their visions of helping move the world to a better place. To do this they will focus on creating a "4P-ImpactŠ" people, profit, planet, and place. GCSEN does this by teaching students to think both globally and locally when considering how to make a change. The President of Wheaton College, Dennis Hanno, one of America's most innovative and effective college presidents, understands the power of the GCSEN model for change and the power of a 4P-Impact focus for millennial students. He established Wheaton College as GCSEN's national pilot campus. In President Hanno's words, "I believe that innovative social entrepreneurs can create the kind of change we need now to address the critical problems we are facing. Wheaton has chosen to work with GCSEN so that our students can develop the confidence and skills needed to become true change makers." Wheaton is committed to creating opportunities and hiring former students like Luke O'Neill creative writing major and graduate of the Meaning Maker Boot Camp '16. He has his own business called Wolf and Tiger Games that is in the development process creating a

Tabletop Role-Playing game thanks to the teaching of GCSEN foundation. He came to the Meaning Makers Boot Camp a year ago with an idea to start a board and role-playing game company with my friend. He had the belief that by focusing on physical games, together they could move people away from their digital screen isolation and depression. By the end of the boot camp he left with a plan to create our tabletop role-playing game. He and his business partner, Deen Naji, will use the game as a platform to work with community centers and engage people through games and help reduce stress and anxiety levels across the country. Deen Naji had previously used role-playing games as a way to overcome depression. Both Luke and Deen want to spread that relief to those who are suffering. He has now been hired by GCSEN to write short biographies for their 18 certified Meaning Maker entrepreneurs. When asked about his belief on writing for others he said, "Every person is the main character in their own story and I want to tell those stories." Luke O'Neill grew from his experiences with GCSEN and other college students can as well. GCSEN is increasing confidence in college students and raising their ability to make meaning and make money for real, before graduation. Professor Mike Caslin, the founder of GCSEN, has built a world class program that offers social entrepreneurship education from staff members who are best in class, experienced members of the business world in their own right.

This world renowned program is practical, academically rigorous, and action oriented. GCSEN also supports its students beyond the summer boot camp with its recently launched web-based THEOS Community (Together We Help Each Other Succeed). It is a life-long alumni support community that includes coaching, professional references, access to capital, access to a social enterprise incubator and accelerator, advanced manufacturing, and intrapreneur/entrepreneur networking opportunities. Of the current 18 students, there are people from across the United States and from five different countries around the world. GCSEN has students from: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, New York, Connecticut as well as from Quito, Ecuador; Hongzhou, China; Chongqing, China; Gibenyi, Rwanda; and Mumbai, India. These students: Adaeze Anaebonam, Amber-Marie Wright, Claudine Humure, Dami Olubusi, Darshil Rathod, Enyu Wang, Gracie Callaghan, Heather Rothman, Joshua Alabre, Kyle McNicoll, Mateo Espinosa, Matthew Wollrath, Nathaniel Chretian-Mansur, Patrick Wang, Rebecca Rosenzweig, Richard Davies, Sol Martinez, and Sophia Hatzikos have similarly come to GCSEN with issues they care deeply about and solutions they want to focus on just like the previous boot camp did a year before them. In this program the students will gain the skills they need to advance their ideas and move the world to a better place. GCSEN's innovative flipped class-

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room is using a program developed for NASA called "Think Tank". In using Think Tank, students were asked to place a slider on a number between 1 and 100. The number indicated how confident they felt about being able to launch their business. At the start of the day students averaged at 64% confidence towards their goal. By the end of just the first day that number had already increased to 77%. By the end of the fourth day the average confidence score had been raised to 89.9%. GCSEN believes that millennials using social entrepreneurship will be the most productive and practical driving force for peace and prosperity around the globe. They have also designed their program using the leading edge MITedx learning platform, which is currently being used by 300 of the world's top universities. GCSEN's mission is to accelerate social entrepreneurship in higher education through innovative programs and learning technologies. Their goal for this week is to help put each student one step closer to launching a 4P Venture. GCSEN is encouraging college students to step out of their comfort zones, struggle towards enlightenment and then return to teach those insights to others, spreading GCSEN style learning to even more people around the world. GCSEN is a trail blazer in a rapidly growing global social entrepreneurship movement. Source Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network


June 2017  |  15

Finance

Four Causes of Money Problems in a Marriage Lonnie R. Mathews Contributing Writer

he truth is that marriage can be tough. Things will not always go as planned and there can be difficulties. One of the main reasons for contention in a marriage is money. After doing a little research, I found that 70% of couples surveyed said they argue about money. Depending on the couple’s age, the arguments tend to be a bit more frequent (as much as 80%) for individuals between the ages of 35 and 44 years old. 55% of those polled complained about how their spouse spends money, and 20% surveyed said they hide spending from their spouse. Who hasn’t purchased something that you figure your spouse may not approve of and decide to just deal with the consequences later? This type of thing happens more often than you might think. I recently did a webinar that discussed five things every couple should know regarding money. As a follow-up, I want to share the four causes of money problems in a marriage. By looking at the

t

Living LivingSeparate SeparateFinancial FinancialLives Lives

of this decision. Over time, one spouse may have resentment towards the other regarding extravagant purchases, also dividing the spending and saving power of the couple. Don’t live separate financial lives, making it difficult to reach your mutual financial goal and possibly causing other problems in the marriage. Like any other area in your marriage, communication is also key when it comes to money. The important thing to remember is to not let money issues wreak havoc in your marriage and replace the love and happiness that you have for your spouse. Have a plan as a couple to be financially successful and consistently communicate with your spouse. When you live within your budget, you can meet financial goals and enjoy your lifestyle more together as a couple. If there are money problems in the marriage, focus on solutions. Work together with your spouse to build a solid financial future.

Sometimes when spouses can’t seem to work together or agree about the family finances, the simple solution seems to be “you pay your bills and I will pay mine.” While this may seem like the right thing to do to keep from arguing about money, other problems can arise as a result

Lonnie R. Mathews wrote this article for the Who’s Minding Your Money blog. Lonnie is an author and speaker in the area of personal finance. To learn more about Lonnie or to contact him, please visit www. lonniemathews.com.

most common causes of problems in a marriage when it comes to money, this will help you and your spouse be on the same page.

NoFinancial FinancialGoals Goals No Just like you should have financial goals as a single person, it is even more important to have goals as a couple. Many couples find themselves driving down the financial highway of nowhere, wondering why their finances are out of order. Having mutual financial goals will allow you to be one with your spouse, helping you to secure your family’s financial future.

ConflictingValues Values Conflicting Your money personality could be one of the greatest influences on how you handle money. Often times our values when it comes to money are deeply rooted in how we were raised. If you were raised in a family where spending was done frequently, then you will tend to be a spender compared to someone who may have been raised in a home where saving was a guiding principle. Trying to Keep up With Your Friends We all have those friends who seem to have a little more in the bank than most.

They live a lavish lifestyle with the latest gadgets, the newest cars and are always eating out at the fanciest restaurants. Looks can be deceiving, as some are living beyond their means. Don’t allow how others spend money to add pressure for you to live a lifestyle that you cannot afford. When the spending habits of others dictate how you spend, you can cause problems in your marriage. Don’t compete with others and put your financial goals at risk.

Finance

5 Tips to Find the Financial Advisor to Match Your Retirement Goals By d-mars.com News Provider

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he idea of retirement may start out as a distant dream. You have hopes and plans for that special time that seems so far away. Sooner or later that time will be here and hopefully you’ll be ready. However, recent research shows many people are not prepared to enjoy a financially stable retirement. A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute states: •  Only 18 percent of people are very confident they will have the savings they need for a comfortable retirement; •  One-third of people aren’t confident they will be able to cover basic living expenses in retirement; •  45 percent of Americans aren’t confident they will be able to cover their medical expenses once they’re retired; •  3 in 10 workers report that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed.

Securingyour yourretirement retirement Securing throughfinancial financialplanning planning through “Many people recognize the value of saving for a comfortable retirement. They just don’t know how to manage their money effectively to maximize their savings and realize their dreams,” says Geoffrey Brown, CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. “To create an actionable strat-

egy for saving, consumers should look for financial planners who are fiduciaries for help. These professionals are entrusted to manage assets or wealth while putting the client’s best interests first at all times.” Financial planners provide support and advice on a wide array of financial topics, including budgeting, estate planning, investments, education funding, insurance and risk management, healthcare planning, and, of course, retirement planning and senior issues. Financial planners who are members of NAPFA are all fee-only and compensated solely through fees from their clients, rather than by transaction-based commissions. Most commissions-based advisors are salespeople rather than comprehensive financial planners. All NAPFA members also sign a fiduciary oath, meaning they must disclose any conflict, or potential conflict, to their clients prior to and throughout the advisory engagement. Working with a fee-only fiduciary means you can be sure the advice you receive from your financial planner is in your best interest, not their best interest.

Tofind findthe theright rightfinancial financial To plannerfor foryou youand and your your needs, needs, planner followthese thesetips tipsfrom from NAPFA: NAPFA: follow •  Finalize your own initial strategy. Before looking for a financial planner, think about the goals you want to attain: What are you saving for? Are you trying to prepare for retirement, save

for a new home or put a child through college? Maybe you're saving for all the above. Once you understand your goals, it will be easier to find a planner who can help you reach them. •  Select several advisors. Don’t narrow your focus when looking for the right financial planner. Instead, consult websites like NAPFA.org. Use the NAPFA Find an Advisor search platform to locate a financial planner who can help you get where you’re going. Word of mouth is fine for some pursuits, but your financial goals are specific to your life, and probably differ greatly from those of your friends. Once you have a “short list” of possible planners, then you are ready to move on to the next step. •  Do your homework. When it comes to vetting a financial planner, a little research goes a long way. Once you’ve collected the names of a couple of planners that appeal to you, learn a little more about them. Visit their company websites or review their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about the company and the planner. You can also search the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commis-

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sion site or BrokerCheck by FINRA to learn more about the planner’s disciplinary history. It’s important to review an advisor’s disciplinary records, their practice focus and their credentials — such as whether or not they are a Certified Financial Planner(TM) (CFP(R)) professional. This work can help you ask the right questions when setting up your first in-person meeting. •  Meet them face-to-face. If you like everything you’ve found so far, then it’s time to meet your potential financial planner. Set up a face-to-face meeting and bring questions of your own or use a Financial Planner Diagnostic tool. Pay attention not only to the answers your potential planner gives, but also to your comfort level during the conversation. Your financial planner will have a large role in your future success so it’s important that you feel comfortable with the relationship. •  Review your results initially and annually. Once you’ve finished your interviews, take the time to review all the information you’ve gathered and pick the financial planner that best fits your needs. After that, plan to review the performance of your finances every year. Your relationship with your planner is ongoing and a successful partnership is one in which you feel comfortable, your savings grow and you’re left excited and confident about what's in store for your financial future. To learn more about how you can find the right financial planner for you, visit NAPFA.org. – BPT


16  |  June 2017

The Attention to Detail and

Wine By Dawn Paul

Associate Editor

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onita Billings is the proud owner of B’s Wine Bar (B’s), conveniently located in Missouri City, Texas. Billings has an entrepreneurial spirit, and becoming the owner of a wine bar has always been a dream of hers. Well, now the dream has become a reality with this new establishment already creating quite a buzz in the Missouri City area and beyond. With special attention to detail, an unmatched atmosphere, and a signature wine selection, B’s has branded itself as a top wine venue that will be here for years to come. B’s grand opening took place recently, and the business has been well-received.

Selection Provides a Memorable Experience

Customers love B’s Wine Bar! Their location means that I don’t have to go downtown for a good meal and a good time.” —Matt Jonas Billings was always interested in owning an establishment where people can relax, enjoy fine wine and spirits and great cuisine. With a winning team, B’s has become all that and more. The combination of a nightlife atmosphere, great ambiance, and a business operation with a hospitality requirement attracted her early on to the bar business. After going through the process of setting up the business entity and construction of a location to meet her expectations, Billings can look back and admit that the whole process had its share of challenges, but it ultimately ended in great rewards. Billings says, “I absolutely love the end result of all of our hard work. B’s Wine Bar started as an idea that is now a thriving business. It was hard work, but keeping that constant vision of smiling pa-

trons walking through the door was a key to help me persevere to see this journey to its end.” Billings knows that in order to have a successful business, it is important to have a detailed step-by-step plan to follow from the beginning. Without such a plan, this process could have easily turned into less than successful for her. For this venture, B’s, she chose a location that was dear to her heart: Sienna Plantation. Billings says, “Sienna Plantation is not only a great community, but it is also where I call home. B’s is located in a business shopping enclave among other various established businesses, which allows us to attract a broad section of patrons. I’m proud that we have created a place for people to socialize in a friendly, intimate, accessible, and relaxing atmo-

sphere.” This centrally located bar appeals to after-work clientele from nearby offices, business travelers, stay-at-home parents, and young adults looking to spend a night out in a convenient location without having to deal with the crowds and traffic of the downtown nightlife. Billings has pulled out all the stops, paying attention to every detail, including the interior décor and talented staff. B’s unique wine selection and the menu keeps people not only returning, but spreading the word about this wine bar. “Our se-

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lection of wines and spirits serves as the foundation to an unmatched atmosphere and a menu chosen specifically to enhance one’s visit to our bar in Missouri City, Texas,” expresses Billings. Since she first envisioned opening her own wine bar, she wanted it to pulsate and breathe with live music. B’s will be featuring live music during the week,


June 2017  |  17

The wine selection is bar none, one of the best in the vicinity.” —Jack Bernard

booking local musical talent from the immediate areas. It is important to Billings to not only have a business, but to also make sure that her business highlights local talent, giving them a platform to perform their creativity. Her journey is only beginning with this wine bar, and the fact that it is carrying her name gives her a greater incentive to

continue on this path of success. Billings anticipates the work ahead and looks forward to all the new things that she is about to learn on this journey. “I hope my entrepreneurship endeavor encourages other female entrepreneurs to get off of the fence and jump in with their own business ideas. With our businesses, we are able to give our young girls and other women a sense of empowerment and a strong sense that anything is possible for their future,” says Billings.

or special occasion. Billings and her staff are dedicated to keep B’s one of the hottest establishments serving Missouri City, Houston, and the surrounding areas. Come and experience B’s for yourself.

B’s takes great care in curating their stellar wine selection to accompany an impressive menu. This establishment is also known for their spectacular event room that hosts events for any meeting

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B’s Wine Bar is located at 8770 Highway 6, Suite 300, Missouri City, Texas. For more information, please call (541) WINE-BAR or (832) 440-7134 and email info@bswinebar.com. Visit B’s Wine Bar on the web at www.bswinebar.com.


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18  |  June 2017

FREE

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COMMUNITY JOURNAL

Community Organizations | Entertainment | Faith-Based | Fashion | Foundations | Lifestyle | Nonprofits | Sports

June 2017

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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A Multi-Cultural

Mortuary Serving All Faiths,

Religions, and Families for over 75 Years “We are caring and experienced professionals who understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. These requests and traditions are of the utmost importance to our staff of licensed funeral directors.” —Mrs. Charlotte Bill, Bill Clair Family Mortuary Funeral Director

INSIDE

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118th Edition


June 2017  |  19

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20  |  June 2017

Specializing in Care and Concern for Your Family By d-mars.com News Provider

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ill Clair Family Mortuary, Inc. (Bill Clair) is owned and operated by Rev. Michael Bill, Mortician and Charlotte Bill, Funeral Director. Bill Clair has been serving the families of Houston and the surrounding areas with compassion and excellence for more than 75 years. Bill Clair is a full-service funeral home, with services ranging from prearrangement to after-care, also providing a variety of funeral services, burial ceremonies, and cremations. Their highest priority is meeting every need of the families they serve, and doing so with personal and professional care of a multi-cultural mortuary. Many people are unsure of what steps to take when there is a death of a loved one. Bill Clair is committed to ensuring that the families they serve are wellinformed of their options. But it is important to Bill Clair that their clients understand what can be done, and they want to make sure that their clients have all of the necessary information required to make these important decisions during a sensitive time. Bill Clair is always there to provide the basic explanation of your options in certain circumstances.

Bill Clair advises of the necessary steps to take after the death of a loved one as it pertains to location and circumstances: Unanticipated death at home or elsewhere - In these situations, you should immediately contact 911. Police and emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to take. Generally, the authorities can release the remains directly to the Bill Clair funeral home, so that preparations may begin. In some situations, however, the remains may need to be taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office. This occurs when the cause of death may not yet be known. If death occurs in an institution - Should the death occur at a hospital or care home (nursing/convalescent), the medical staff should handle all necessary legal steps. You simply need to inform the staff that Bill Clair is handling arrangements. You will generally have to complete any legal release paperwork. Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


June 2017  |  21

Anticipated death at home - Today, more people with terminal illnesses are more comfortable at home under the care of Hospice in the final stages of their illness. In this situation, you should inform Hospice that Bill Clair is the funeral home of your choice. Hospice will then supervise the necessary legal requirements. Often, when someone is faced with a terminal illness, the family will decide to make arrangements in advance - saving them the time and emotional decisions needed at the time of death. Death out-of-state - If the death occurs out of state, you should call Bill Clair at their Houston or Stafford

location. They can then coordinate the transfer with a local funeral director at the place of death. They can often save families money by making all necessary arrangements. Bill Clair believes in the economical way of caring for families in need. With a listening ear, Bill Clair provides affordable options for families to care for a loved one who has passed. When you finalize your plan, Bill Clair can advise you of the total cost. You do not have to set aside funds for your plan, but doing so protects you against escalating funeral costs. By locking in today's funeral costs and ensuring that the necessary funds are

set aside, you help relieve yourself of unnecessary future worry and your survivors of an unexpected expense. This funeral home is able to serve friends and neighbors throughout Houston, the surrounding areas, and this region with not only compassion, but also the skill and attention to detail that clients deserve. The commitment to their families and the community has defined their service that remains strong. Bill Clair is confident that they can provide you and your family with the care you need and deserve during a difficult time.

Rev. and Charlotte Bill and staff members are caring and experienced professionals who understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. These requests and traditions are of the utmost importance to their staff of licensed funeral directors. Bill Clair is the multicultural mortuary that has served all faiths and religions, foreign, domestic, and international for over 75 years. Bill Clair encourages individuals to plan ahead so they can have peace of mind. Many who have undergone the emotional strain of arranging a funeral within hours of losing a loved one have made the choice to preplan their own funeral. Doing so lifts the burden and relieves decision-making pressures at a time of grief and emotional stress. Funeral arrangements are a deep personal choice. Pre-planning provides you with the time needed to make practical and detailed decisions that reflect your standards, lifestyle, taste, and budget. And Bill Clair assures you and your family that the choices you make will be carried out as planned. Bill Clair’s beautiful Southmore chapel is conveniently located at 2603 Southmore Boulevard in Houston, Texas. For more information about the services they offer, please email billclairstaff@hotmail.com or call (713) 522-9030. Visit Bill Clair Family Mortuary, Inc. on the web at www.billclair.com. Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


22  |  June 2017

Finance

5 Steps That Can Improve Your Credit Score in 100 Days or Less By d-mars.com News Provider

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ow interest rates, a strong economy and the turn of the seasons are all causing the real estate market to heat up. More homes on the market bring more competition to buy the inventory that is out there. And one way to stand apart from other buyers who are vying for their dream home is to take steps to improve your credit score now. "Preparing your finances is a must before the busy real estate season," says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions. "Knowing your credit scores and making improvements is essential to getting the best loan at the best rates. This also makes you a more attractive home buyer, especially in a competitive market." With limited time, you may think there's nothing you can do to improve your score. Burns says that's an incorrect assumption. While you can't make dramatic jumps in just a couple months, there are several steps you can take that may influence your score to increase enough to get you prequalified for the loan you want. Keep in mind, lenders will pull your scores from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), so it's wise to check your credit

report from each of them. You can do so for free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. For best results, monitor at least one credit score from each of the bureaus. You also can check your credit score for free through a large number of online services, such as CreditKarma.com, NerdWallet.com or Credit.com. Other sites offering free VantageScore credit scores can be found at VantageScore.com/free. Once you have your reports in hand, you can take steps that may have a positive impact on your scores.

Step1:1:Check Checkfor forerrors errors Step A credit report gives a comprehensive list of your lines of credit and payment history. The first step is to review your credit report for errors and take steps to make corrections, including past and present names, loan amounts and credit cards in your name. When checking your credit score, bear in mind that some differences in credit scores across bureaus is normal. But if one of the three credit scores is an extreme outlier, it could be worth doublechecking your credit report from that bureau to make sure it doesn't reflect any questionable or erroneous activity.

Step2:2:Don't Don'tmiss missaapayment payment Step Creditors are interested in seeing how you manage credit, and the consistency

Step applyfor fornew newcredit credit Step5: 5: Don't Don't apply

of behavior counts. You should always pay at least the minimum amount due on bills on time every month. An easy way to ensure you don't miss a payment is to sign up for automatic bill pay when available.

Step3:3:Lower Lowercredit creditutilization Step utilization levels levels Credit utilization is the ratio of a credit card balance to the credit limit. If your balance is $5,000 and your credit limit is $10,000, then your credit utilization for that credit card is 50 percent. In general, a good credit utilization is less than 30 percent, so if you have a higher ratio, consider using your tax refund to pay down this debt.

Step4:4:Don't Don'tclose closeold credit Step old credit cards cards If you have a credit card that is no longer used but was previously paid off on time each month, don't close the account. Not only is this good for your credit utilization ratio, but it also is another indicator you're a responsible candidate for a loan.

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Avoid applying for any new credit, such as an auto loan or a new credit card account, between now and the time you will close on a home purchase. Lenders considering your loan application request your credit score from one or more credit bureaus. And these lender "inquiries" are recorded with one or more of the three national credit bureaus, which may lower your credit score by 10 to 20 points. The score decreases typically only last a few months, as long as you continue to make payments on time. But unless they're absolutely necessary, try to avoid additional inquiries until after you've secured your mortgage. If you follow these five steps, you may see an increase in your score within a few months so you can get a loan and be an attractive buyer when it comes time to put in a bid for your dream home. Keep in mind, the more you can put toward the down payment, the more instant equity you’ll have, the lower your monthly payment will be, and the better your chances are of not needing private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment. Plus, if you’re able to put down more than a lender requires, a mortgage company may be willing to give you a pass on other issues on your application, such as a less-than-stellar credit score. – BPT


June 2017  |  23

Politics

Mayor Turner, Climate Mayors Vow To Honor Paris Climate Agreement Goals 60 Mayors representing 35 million Americans will lead fight against climate change and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.'

By Sylvester Turner A Message from Houston Mayor

n response to President Trump’s decision withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, Mayor Sylvester Turner joined over 60 “Climate Mayors” from across the U.S. in vowing to honor the Paris Agreement’s goals to fight climate change. "Cities are front and center in the fight against climate change and we have to take action,” said Mayor Turner. “We must not let the President’s decision today slow our efforts. As the energy capital of the world and the nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power, Houston is leading by example and living proof that large, industrial cities can have a robust economy and also fight climate change.” Houston has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 35% since 2007 and was named the nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power for 2017 by the U.S. EPA. Mayor Turner is Vice Chair of the Climate Mayors, a network of U.S. mayors working together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting efforts for binding federal and

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global-level policy making. In response to the President’s decision, over 60 mayors representing more than 35 million Americans have vowed to honor and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement in the statement below. "The President’s denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America’s cities.'

"60 Mayors representing 35 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target,

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"We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks.' "The world cannot wait — and neither will we."

For more information, please visit www.houstontx.gov.


24  |  June 2017

Finance

Business Spotlight on Victor D. Walker, Esq. Mr. Walker has handled many cases for high profile companies including Black & Decker/Embart Merger funding resulting in $3.6 billion, Eastman Kodak restructuring resulting in $1.2 billion, and Seawind Cruise Line LBO resulting in $20 million. Mr. Walker’s practice has also leveraged acquisitions and buyouts with companies such as Peterson’s Outdoor Advertising Inc. and AEGIS Consumer Funding Group. Prior to establishing the firm, Mr. Walker worked as an Investment Banker for Dain Rauscher (formerly known as Raushcer Pierce Refnes), Corporate Finance VP for SunAmerica Corporate Finance, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp Global Finance and Deloitte & Touche (formerly known as Deloitte Haskins & Sells). Mr. Walker is a member of the Texas Bar Association, Texas Board of Certified Public Accountants, admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and holds various SEC/FINRA securities licenses. He uses his extensive relationships in the investment community to introduce clients to sources of capital and continues to put each client’s needs first when it comes to their investments and securities. Mr. Walker earned his Juris Doctorate and MBA degrees from the University of Virginia in 1990. He focuses his efforts on closing complex and often difficult transactions.

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ictor D. Walker is a corporate lawyer and founding shareholder with the Law Office of Victor D. Walker, P.C., whose practice focuses on securities, financings, mergers and acquisitions and corporate legal representation for emerging growth companies, startups and entrepreneurs. He is experienced in a wide variety of corporate transactions involving helping business owners with capital formation, contract negotiation/documentation, lending, factoring, franchising, real estate and day-to-day representation of corporations and other business entities. Specifically, he focuses his “boutique” practice in the following areas: (i) Securities – corporate financings; SEC registration statements and other 1933 Securities Act filings; 1934 Exchange Act filings; private placement offerings and blue sky filings, private equity and venture capital investments, (ii) Corporate – mergers and acquisitions; drafting and review of corporate documents; corporate formations, negotiations & mediations, lending and corporate restructurings. Mr. Walker also advises business owners on public and private projects concerning risk management, procurement strategy and the regulatory environment; standard construction contract forms and project documentation. For the subcontractors on projects, Mr. Walker often reviews, drafts and negotiates project documentation with prime contractors or supply chain members. He also represents clients in the dis-

pute resolution process be it arbitration, adjudication, litigation, expert determination, dispute review board, labor grievance arbitration, mediation or other forms of ADR.

For more information on Victor D. Walker, Esq. and the Law Office of Victor D. Walker, P.C., please visit www.walkersecuritieslaw.com or call 713-724-5300.

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June 2017  |  25

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26  |  June 2017

Insurance

Security in an Insecure World

A standard homeowners policy provides limited coverage for some items in a box, but excludes losses from flood and other risks. They may also have a high deductible. Specialty insurance designed to cover and protect everything inside of a safe deposit box - including cash, gold and important papers such as wills, titles, deeds, photos and digital backups, is now available. There is no deductible, and risks such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes and earthquakes are covered. And because you do not need to identify what is stored inside the box to obtain coverage, you can maintain your privacy.

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he year 2016 was devastating for some safe deposit box holders. In New York, thieves cut holes in the roofs of three banks and brazenly emptied hundreds of safe deposit boxes, leaving the victims' pillaged boxes on the roof and strewn around the vault. A stealthier thief in Florida picked safe deposit boxes in several banks, emptying the contents without damaging the box or leaving any visible sign of the theft. These are not isolated incidents. On average, there are between 15-18 robberies or burglaries involving bank vaults every year according to the FBI. Millions of dollars of jewelry, cash, gold and family heirlooms are stolen, leaving devastated box holders dealing with unrecoverable losses.

Stillthe thesafest safest Still Despite these occurrences, law enforcement agencies, FEMA, the American Red Cross and AARP all recommend safe deposit boxes to store valuable items,

heirlooms and documents. A safe deposit box in a vault is superior to home storage even with a safe. Why? Because a residence is almost 20 times more likely to be robbed than a safe deposit box in a bank. And with rental costs starting at around $30 a year, safe deposit boxes remain one of the best values offered by a financial institution.

Requiredstep step Required Today, most people who rent a safe deposit box assume the bank or a federal agency insures the contents. This is not true, and unfortunately, too many people learn this the hard way.

Protectyourself yourself Protect Clearly, there are events that no vault or safe deposit box can protect against. However, there are steps you should take. Safe Deposit Box Insurance, LLC (SDBIC), the leader in protecting valuable assets in secure boxes, has developed a secure storage quiz on secure storage options. So, despite there being some high-profile break-ins, a safe deposit box is still the best place to store your documents, family heirlooms and other valuables. But because nothing is 100 percent foolproof, it's important to do your research, select the right bank and insure the contents of your box through SDBIC. – BPT

Politics

House Votes to Limit Powers of First Black Librarian of Congress By Lauren Victoria Burke NNPA

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n a vote of 378 to 48, the House passed legislation to take power away from the current Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. The legislation, H.R. 1695, was authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.), would limit the powers of the librarian. It is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Trump. The bill makes the head of the Copyright Office, the Register of Copyrights, a presidential appointment that would have to be confirmed by the Senate, rather than an appointment by the Librarian of Congress, as it has been since 1870. The bill also limits the position of Register of Copyrights to a ten-year term. The bill text reads, "This bill amends federal copyright law to require the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint a Register of Copyrights from a list of at least three individuals…" and, "The bill limits the term of office for the Register of Copyrights to 10 years, but the individual may be reappointed subject to the same requirements established in this bill. The President may remove the Register of Copyrights from office and must notify both chambers of Congress of any such removal." According to the Library Journal, as President Obama considered his choice to fill the Librarian of Congress position in 2015, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate passed a bill to limit the term of that position to ten years. "After [the bill] was approved in the House of Representatives," President Obama signed it into law on November 5, 2015.

The previous Librarian of Congress, James Billington, served in the position for 28 years. President Barack Obama appointed Hayden the 14th Librarian of Congress on February 24, 2016. She is the first African American to hold the position, as well as the first woman to be the Librarian of Congress, in the agency’s history. On March 23, legislation was introduced to block Hayden from appointing the next Register of Copyrights. That legislation passed the House on April 26. Supporters of the bill argued that the legislation would help to modernize the Copyright Office and make it more accountable to Congress. Attempts to contact the office of Rep. John Conyers (DMich.) for details on why he authored H.R. 1695, were not answered. "This bill serves no purpose other than to take power away from the Librarian of Congress and give it to powerful lobbyists, who will have a major say in who runs the Copyright Office," wrote Michael Masnick on TechDirt. com on April 26. "It's a bad bill, and it's a gift to Hollywood." The entertainment industry pushed hard for the passage of H.R. 1695. It's likely that the selection of the Librarian of Congress will be the focus of attention of the power of the entertainment lobby moving forward now that senators will play a role in confirmation. The bill to limit Hayden's power arrives six months after she removed Maria Pallante from the position of Register of Copyrights in October 2016. Many in the entertainment industry were said to be unhappy with Pallante's removal. "The Library of Congress, through the Registrar of Copyrights, plays a referee or umpire role in this complex new game; librarians, because they curate

Carla Hayden was appointed the 14th Librarian of Congress by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016. (Wikimedia Commons)

and compile content, have traditionally been protectors of copyright and works of authors and artists and balanced public and cultural interests in the free flow and use of that content," Christopher Chambers, a professor of media studies at Georgetown University told NBC BLK. "Big money is at stake and the industry wants someone, who will see its side, rather than the public interest in what the Constitution says is the ‘promotion of useful Arts.’” Chambers continued: “It is no secret that the industry lobbies and donates hard, regarding Democrats and Republicans alike. And many of them are African American lawmakers, like Rep. Conyers. This basically surrenders congressional power over intellectual property right there in the Constitution, to the Executive Branch, hence President Trump.” Chambers said that means that President Donald Trump would, in essence, run the Copyright Office. There were only 13 Congressional Black Caucus members out of 46 voting in the House, who voted to maintain the powers of the Librarian of Congress. Those members were: Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Joyce Beatty (DOhio), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Hank

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Johnson (D-Ga.), Don McEachin (DVa.), Don Payne (D-N.J.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Bonnie WatsonColeman (D-N.J.). All the other voting CBC members favored modifying the position to take power away from the Librarian of Congress. All the other voting CBC members favored modifying the position to take power away, including Conyers and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.) who hail from Hayden's home state of Maryland. According to the United States Census Bureau, Blacks account for more than 30 percent of Maryland’s population. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) voted against taking power away from the position Carla Hayden now holds. In a statement after the legislation passed yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte wrote, “the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act is one product of the House Judiciary Committee’s multi-year comprehensive review of our copyright laws." The statement continued: “While this legislation represents an important first step in the Committee’s efforts to update our nation’s copyright laws, we remain committed to working with all members and stakeholders to take additional steps to ensure the U.S Copyright Office is modernized so that it functions efficiently and effectively for all Americans.” From 1993 to 2016, Hayden was CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md. Hayden was also President of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004.


June 2017  |  27

Real Estate

A Smarter Way to Buy a Home By d-mars.com News Provider

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re you considering buying a home? With mortgage rates on the slow and steady incline, there may be no better time for a home purchase than now. Mortgage interest rates will likely continue to go up for the foreseeable future, according to recent data from the housing finance company Freddie Mac. Many housing experts and industry observers agree.

Whatdoes doesthis thismean? mean? What If you are thinking about buying a home, it means don’t wait any longer. The overall cost of buying a home in the future will only increase compared to buying a home of the same value today. Furthermore, rising interest rates impact housing inventory, as sellers might not be as interested in moving if it means paying a higher rate on a new mortgage. As a result, the dream home you see today might not be available next year.

The20 20percent percentdown down myth The myth If you’ve put off buying your next home to save for the full 20 percent there is good news: you don’t need it. If you were unaware of this, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that among first-time homebuyers who obtained a mortgage, 80 percent made a down payment of less than 20 percent. While there are several low down payment mortgage options available, only one has a 60-year history of being a steadfast, smart way to get into a home: a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance (MI).

Whatisisaaconventional conventional What loan with loan with MI? MI? A conventional loan is a mortgage from a lender that is not completely backed by the federal government. For qualified borrowers with a low down payment, private MI is required and typically paid monthly along with the mortgage payment. You can obtain this type of loan with as little as 3 percent down, though buying with a 5 percent down payment will result in a lower monthly payment. There are other types of low down payment options that also include MI, such as the government-insured loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Unlike the premiums charged by FHA loans, private MI premiums can be cancelled once 20 percent equity in home value is reached, and with private MI there are no upfront costs added onto a borrower’s initial down payment like there are with an FHA loan. This means your monthly bill decreases and you have extra money to spend on your family, vacations, retirement and any other needs. Don’t sit on the sidelines and miss out on your dream home. To learn more about mortgage insurance compared to other low down payment options, visit LowDownPaymentFacts.org. – BPT

Real Estate

CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial Over Unfair Mortgage Practices

Action Affects All 50 States on Unpaid Balances of $209 Billion By Charlene Crowell NNPA

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amilies, who have assembled the necessary financial resources to apply, qualify, and then purchase a home, understandably value that key investment and its accompanying opportunity to build wealth; but buying the home is just the first step of securing the American Dream of homeownership. What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough. Although homebuyers choose their lender, they do not choose who services their loan – the company that accepts and processes their monthly payments. Nowadays, very few lenders also service loans made. Instead, a third party receives payments, maintains account records, and serves as the first point of contact should questions arise. Borrowers can also be caught in errors created by servicers whose records may not have been complete, incorrectly posted to accounts and more. Over the life of a loan, multiple servicers from different firms may manage a single mortgage loan. If a borrower discovers that something is amiss on their loan records, they can soon find themselves in a financial maze, trying to decipher who did what and when with their faithful payments. Moreover, while these consumers seek to find out what exactly happened, both fines and fees can be assessed, or even foreclosures filed. Imagine that scenario affecting 1.4 million mortgage loans in all 50 states, with a combined unpaid principal balance of $209 billion. Even worse, imagine this disheartening scenario happening with a firm that specializes in servicing delinquent and subprime loans in years following the enactment of strong federal legislation designed to ensure protections from financial misbehaviors. In late April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), along with the Florida Attorney General and the state’s Office of Financial Regulation, filed lawsuits alleging Ocwen Financial Corporation with a litany of ills affecting virtually every phase of mortgage servicing. The Florida lawsuit alone, affects more than 125,000 Ocwen borrowers. “Enough is enough, said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Florida’s distressed Ocwen borrowers should no longer have to endure costly servicing errors and unfair practices.” “Ocwen has repeatedly made mistakes and taken shortcuts at every stage of the mortgage servicing process, costing some consumers money and others their homes,” said CFPB Director

Richard Cordray. “Borrowers have no say over who services their mortgage, so the Bureau will remain vigilant to ensure they get fair treatment.”

Thelengthy lengthyand andnew new The allegations against Ocwen allegations against Ocwen include: include: •  Failure to credit multiple borrowers’ payments, or to correct billing and payment errors; •  Mishandled hazard insurance that led to the lapse of 10,000 borrowers’ homeowners’ insurance; •  Illegally foreclosing on at least 1,000 people – even though borrowers had been given 30 days to submit information to servicers, servicers instead initiated foreclosure proceedings and sales; and •  Deceptive enrollment and charges to borrowers for add-on products. Readers may recall that many of the foreclosures that affected Black and Latino neighborhoods during the housing crisis were high-cost, unsustainable adjustable-rate-mortgage loans. As mortgage brokers were paid financial kickbacks called ‘yield spread premiums’ for selling these loans, borrowers were often steered into these higher-cost loans, not knowing that the broker had an additional financial incentive. “In 2013, the $2.1 billion joint state and national foreclosure settlement intended to provide compensation to mortgage borrowers who were harmed during the housing crisis,” said Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending. “Dodd-Frank’s Wall Street Reform Act imposed new requirements for mortgage servicers, and authorized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to im-

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plement requirements and adopt new rules, which the Bureau did in 2013.” “At the same time,” continued Bailey, “this new litigation underscores the value that the CFPB brings to consumers. Congress should allow the CFPB to continue to do its job.” In recent weeks, members of Congress and President Trump have publicly called for regulatory rollbacks in general and for CFPB in particular. On April 26, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on newly-filed legislation, the Financial CHOICE Act. Dubbed the Wrong Choice Act by consumer advocates, the bill would reverse much of what the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act authorized, including CFPB’s independent governance and funding. Bailey’s concerns were echoed by Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “This is one of the worst bills I’ve seen in my time in Congress,” Waters said. “It’s an invitation to another Great Recession—or worse. This bill is rotten to the core.” Senator Elizabeth Warren testified at an April 28 committee hearing organized by the minority members of the House Financial Services Committee. “Let me be blunt,” testified the Senator. “This is a 589 page insult to working families…This bill would let big banks, and payday lenders, and financial advisors go back to cheating people with no accountability. And it would unleash the same behavior on Wall Street that led to the 2008 financial crisis.” "This bill doesn't solve a single real problem with the economy or with our financial system; but it does make some big-time lobbyists happy," concluded Senator Warren. Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director for the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene. crowell@responsiblelending.org.


28  |  June 2017

Technology

5 Precise Points to Look for in the Perfect PC Powerful portable Powerful and and portable

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hat drives you in the search for the perfect PC? Is it premium design and the high-end components? Or are you a performance person where nothing but the best specs will do? And what about price? Do you worry that you'll have to sacrifice some of the things you want simply because they are too expensive? There are many things to consider when looking for the perfect PC but price and performance are not mutually exclusive. With today's modern devices, you can have both. So start your search by focusing on the parameters below and you'll find the perfect PC that fits your needs, and your budget, in no time.

The size of your new device plays a huge role in how you use it. If you plan to travel with your device, then you’ll want a more compact model like the slim, lightweight, ultraportable 2-in-1 ASUS Transformer Mini. This powerful tablet features a comfortable, angled keyboard and a handy kickstand delivering 140-degree views no matter where you take it. Plus, channel your inner creator with Windows 10 Creators Update and Active Pen, which creates the feeling of writing with a pen on paper.

Moderndesign design Modern This is where your tech really shines, thanks to the latest advancements that separate the newest devices from their predecessors. Crafted from 100 percent aluminum, the Acer Swift 3 packs the power of a 7th Generation Intel Core processor into an ultra-slim .7” frame with full high-definition capabilities and 12 hours of battery life. Meanwhile, the versatile Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 can transition from a laptop to a tent to a tablet with ease, and has a full high-definition wideviewing angle display to play media powered by its Intel Core processor. Finally, the HP Pavilion x360 allows you to work, write and play naturally on the touchscreen. It's a convertible 2-in-1 with an optional active pen, the enhanced experience of FHD IPS display and audio tuned by the experts at Bang & Olufsen. It also allows you to store millions of documents or hundreds of movies with up to 1 terabyte of HDD storage.

Whether you plan to carry your PC into that next business meeting or out with friends, appearance matters, and nothing tops sleek and stylish. The Samsung Galaxy Book 10 is a 2-in-1 with a gorgeous display and a brushed metal finish that’s sure to get noticed. And with the included Samsung S Pen, 10 hours of battery life and the ability to sync up with your Samsung phone, its functionality can't be topped.

Safe and and secure secure Safe The more time you invest in your PC, the more important it is to protect it. The Lenovo Yoga 510 (Flex 4) keeps your content uniquely yours with a simple, secure log-in fingerprint reader and Windows Hello. It’s the perfect gatekeeper for a device with plenty of

storage for all your most cherished keepsakes.

Personalized for Personalized for you you Each of the devices mentioned above is available at an affordable price allowing you to find the perfect PC to meet your needs and your budget. Once you narrow in on the features and functionalities that are a must have for you to help you tackle your personal and professional to-do's, you'll find that there is a PC out there to fit your needs. So don't delay. Start your search for your next device today, and put the power of state-of-the-art technology on your table, your lap or in the palm of your hand. Stop by your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com, or your local retailer to find the one that's right for you. – BPT

Technology

Consumer Data By d-mars.com News Provider

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very day, people use data to influence their decision making — from where to go for dinner, to selecting stocks in which they should invest, to where to live. Every Google search we perform, every Yelp review read or written, each item of clothing, houseware or electronic device we put in our virtual cart, is another data point companies can use to personalize our experience with their brands. Despite all the data at their disposal, it seems many brands still don’t fully understand what consumers want from them in terms of products or services or how to best engage with their end buyer. A recent survey from cloud and big data integration company Talend shows 88 percent of information technology leaders believe their organization truly understands its customers, while only 61 percent of consumers believe companies understand their needs. This begs the question: How do we differentiate between those brands that are using our data the right way, versus those that have a long way to go? Sec-

ond, how do we help the brands we love understand us better without sacrificing our privacy?

Understandwhich whichdata to 1.1.Understand data to share. share. Think about your favorite shopping app or website. Does it know which brands you prefer? What about your shoe size? Does it have your zip code stored for shipping estimates? Does it make appropriate recommendations? The strongest relationships in life work both ways, so if you want a brand to know what you want from them, perhaps it’s time to share a little. Taking five minutes to fill out some basic profile information in your “preferences” could, at the very least, save you time on future shopping excursions and might even lead to a surprise find.

2. Use data to get 2.the Usebest datadeals. to get the best deals. When you’re shopping online, you can quickly compare prices for the exact item you want to purchase across multiple vendors, and, if you have time to wait, be alerted should the item go on sale. The best example is travel. There seems to be a never-ending list of websites available for booking flights and

hotels, but booking the first flight you see without shopping around is rarely going to get you the best deal. Countless studies have shown booking on certain days of the week, or a particular number of weeks ahead of your trip, will yield the best results. From there, one still has to compare prices against different websites to find the best fare. Luckily, some of the top search engines are making this even easier for consumers by indicating whether the price is high or low. The art of finding the best deal is really in comparing the data.

3. Know where to draw line.where to draw the line. 3.the Know At the end of the day, privacy is still important, and it’s prudent not to share

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too much personal information. Think critically about which data is going to be absolutely necessary to enhance your experience with the companies you rely on. For example, it’s not necessary to share your contact list, your geolocation or (if you’re on a mobile device) access to your camera if you’re using a music or financial app. Some brands ask for too much, and it’s up to each individual to determine which data makes sense to share with each brand and what doesn’t. For example, don’t be too quick to provide broad access to an app you've just downloaded. Also, as painful as it may be, do read the privacy policy of the sites you frequent and understand how they use and protect the personal information they collect on you. Ultimately, most companies today are still just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding the impact customer data can have on the profitability and success of their business. There is still a lot of room for growth when it comes to companies effectively using data to address consumer needs. It’s up to each one of us to make sure we are sharing the right data with them, while also using that data to our advantage to get the best deals and online experience possible. – BPT


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30  |  June 2017

Enthusiasm Is the Great Multiplier By Noel Pinnock Contributing Writer

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Disappointments Are for a Season By Charlotte A. Jackson Contributing Writer

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have seen so many young people who by no choice of their own grew up in a single parent household. Somehow, they had to learn to handle the responsibilities of life as well as the disappointments that came their way. Children who grow up with one absent parent or without both parents are left to observe the traditional role of a parent by watching others in the community. I remember having a flat tire and two young men who were trying to help me became frustrated because they wanted to help, but didn’t know how to change a flat tire. I recall another time when I witnessed a young man having trouble tying his necktie for a formal event. A young woman shared with me the pain she was dealing with in relationships because of not having a strong male role model in her life growing up. There was a young man who lied and said his father was dead because he was ashamed that his father was really in prison. Talking with a young woman with abandonment issues, she was very transparent that she had two miscarriages and an abortion by the age of 14 years old. Her mother leaving at a young age, she longed for someone to truly love her. There are those who are suffering in silence, masking the pain. With so many young people hurting out here, we have to be ready to love them unconditionally and listen not only to what they are saying, but what they are not saying. Yes, we must learn to read between the lines. It takes time to get through to a person who is hurting, especially a young person.

We have to be selfless to truly help them heal and sacrifice our time for their benefit. It is not only time, but also money. It may be on your heart to pour into a young person, helping them with the basic necessities or investing in their education. We must be willing to reach out and love on this generation. Someone must be willing to teach them how to tie a tie, change a tire, cook and other everyday things we take for granted. Are you that someone? Are you that someone who can teach young people that they can trust others? Are you that someone who can encourage them to keep the faith even when times are tough? It is our duty as members of the community to teach young people who are hurting about love and acceptance. It is vital for them to know that their disappointments are only for a season. Will you join me today in being SOMEONE?

reat American philosopher, essayist, and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!” Emerson couldn’t be more accurate in his reflection in today’s global and competitive society. We oftentimes find ourselves at dead ends because we lose that fire or enthusiasm. A new car or home is greatly celebrated at the time of delivery or purchase. Generally this sensation lasts for some time but after awhile, what was once new becomes old. After a few moments of bliss, the enthusiasm can fade and our innate desire for something new emerges, thus leaving us with a sense of dissatisfaction. No matter what you do - sweeping the streets, running a corporation or being a stay-at-home mom, your job is more than a job. The Bible says while you are here on earth, you should use your work as an act of worship and do everything as you are doing it unto Him. When you worship, you are enthusiastically engaged with the intent on elevating and celebrating. When our focus is steadfast on this, then we don’t get bored, everyday becomes a new day and every moment is a new opportunity to maximize, clarify and synergize. Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, said, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God.” If you do everything as if you are working for the Lord, how would your life change? The great multiplier lies in the purpose of the action. Purpose drives your enthusiasm and that continues to be the fuel that drives you to accomplish. Accomplishing great things requires enthusiasm. To read more about author Noel Pinnock, B.S., M.P.A., C.A., CCC, IPMA-SCP, please visit www.noelpinnock.com. #GetAtIt

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June 2017  |  31

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32  |  May 2017

It Is a Part of Who You Are By Linda Lindsay Contributing Writer

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he best design for your life is all determined by your choices. It is just like making choices in other everyday things in your life. Whether it is your home, work, friends, social engagements or just getting up in the morning, there are choices to be made. Every choice you make shapes your experiences and life. Design is no different.

Howdo doyou youwant wantto toshape shapeyour yourlifestyle? How Below please see some mysome simple lifestyle? Below pleaseofsee of design tips design for making space reflect my simple tips your for making your who you are. who you are. space reflect

Follow the Leader By Rhonda Dallas Contributing Writer

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t is a humbling experience to be classified as a leader. At times I want to be a follower, but God says you are a leader. I learned at an early age to take this position in life seriously. Leaders must take on a role of integrity, not only walk the walk, but also talk the talk. In my role as a leader, I lead in ministry, women’s groups, and organizations. I am also a leader in my own business, Rhonda Dallas Coaching and Personal Development, where we help people who want to lead, strengthen their brand, skills, and techniques, and raise awareness of their initiative. In addition, my company provides life coaching services, turning visions and passions into reality. In John Maxwell’s book titled, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” he gives us the following points as leaders. The Law of Influence – Some leaders do not look like leaders on the outside but are strong on the inside. Some are short such as Mother Teresa, who we think of as being frail and thin, but she was powerful and made a huge impact on all of our lives, whether directly or indirectly. He goes on to say that true leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned, but it comes from influence. Leadership MUST be earned. As a leader, I have earned my stripes through working in and around the city of Houston and even abroad. The Law of Addition – James Sinegal is the cofounder and longtime CEO of Costco, one of the largest retailers in the United States. He did not come from an Ivy League college or a wealthy family. He began his career serving, helping others. A leader must be willing to help others, which attracts others to them. I lead in ministry by teaching classes

and giving my all when I walk into any classroom setting, ready to teach. What I pour out into teaching attracts others, because they can feel that I put in the work and time necessary to provide them with tools they can apply in their very own lives. The Law of Empowerment – Henry Ford was a revolutionary automobile innovator, and he is a legend. He set out to build the best car for the masses. But he was smart enough to know he needed the best people to help with the engineering and designs. A leader is not afraid to know they need help and empowers others to use their best skills to get the job done. You see, I am not afraid to bring others to my teams who have a better skillset in certain areas. A leader is responsible for bringing others up as well. I am a leader who is short in stature, grew up on the South Side of Chicago, did not go to an Ivy League university, and did not come from money. I am a leader, and I tell everyone if you have been given that position, be proud of it and own it. But you must also know how to follow and humble yourself.

•  Use sleek lines and exotic materials that will give your room a more glamorous look. •  For floor-to-ceiling bookcases, use wall coverings to create a focal point. •  Use upholstered furnishing in different plush and exciting statement fabrics that will reflect your personality within the space. •  Make sure you draw the eye immediately to the ceiling with ceiling fixtures. •  Fireplace walls are the best for creating a wall of accent. •  Use contrast items with color to bring a room together. •  Use bluegreen, which is now the replacement trend for grey. •  Use wallpaper on the back walls to draw attention to the back of the room and to create the illusion of space.

Try some of my above tips to allow you to live and share your inner harmony through your interior design selections. For more information, contact Linda Lindsay of Designing Your Lifestyle at 347-731-1020.

Rhonda Dallas is a certified life coach. For more information on leadership coaching, please contact Rhonda at rhondadallascoaching@gmail. com. Visit her on the web at www.rhondadallas. com. Get started today!

Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


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Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


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Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


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